VERDICT: Jury finds Iervolino guilty of two counts of murder in Harmon’s death | New
CITY OF PELL – Michael Dale Iervolino was convicted of two counts of capital murder for the shooting death of Nicholas Sloan Harmon.
A jury found Iervolino guilty on Monday after nearly an hour of deliberation after the prosecution and defense made their final statements Monday morning.
Testimony in Michael Iervolino’s trial ended on Friday after each side ruled on their case.
Iervolino is charged with two counts of capital murder in connection with the shooting death of Nicholas Slaon Harmon, a 20-year-old Air Force Reserve member and the son of the St. Clair County District Attorney, Lyle Harmon. One count accuses Iervolino of shooting young Harmon from inside a vehicle, while the second count accuses him of shooting Harmon while Harmon was in a vehicle. The incident occurred on November 5, 2019.
The prosecution ended its multi-day case on Friday by focusing on expert testimony. The first witness called was the state medical examiner, Dr Valerie Green, who performed an autopsy on Harmon after his death.
She testified that Harmon had a gunshot wound to the left side of the neck. Green said the bullet passed through Harm’s neck, hitting tissue near the spine and Adam’s apple before exiting through his mouth. She said the injury would not result in immediate death, with the main contributing factor being blood loss.
Green said the trauma could cause a person to choke on blood. She said that a person with such an injury would likely be able to function for a few minutes. Green said during cross-examination of defense lawyer Bob Bently that a person would be able to move but would have difficulty breathing and would likely be confused.
Green also testified that the injury itself was unusual for an entry injury, being more irregular than normal.
“Looking at this, I think there was an intermediate target,” she said.
Previous witnesses have said that the rear window on the driver’s side of Hamron’s Mazda 3 was shattered when it was found leaning against a guide wire near the Valero Travel Center in Moody. Green said the projectile hitting the glass could cause this irregularity in the wound.
Geaneé Westley, an Alabama Department of Forensic Pathologist, testified to DNA evidence on the 9mm Hi Point pistol that several witnesses said were in possession of Iervolino on the night of the incident. She tested it against DNA swabs from Irvolino and witnesses Jacob Atkinson, Dylon Stewart and Jacob Wilson. Westley said the gun contained a mixture of DNA from three people, two of them definitely male and the other inconclusive. collected by the State Bureau of Investigations, but that he had let Iervolino throw it away the night of the incident.
The last expert was Nicholas Drake who works as a gun and tool brand examiner for the ADF. He said he tested both the Hi Point and the Glock 9mm involved in the case.
Drake said he compared the Hi Point to four casings found in a Chevrolet work truck that circuit clerk Annette Manning later testified to as having pleaded guilty to property theft and breaking and entering. a vehicle related to earlier this week. He said the Hi Point also matched a cartridge case found in the yard of Johnny Burtum, Ievolino’s cousin, who testified that Iervolino came to his home early in the morning of November 6, 2019.
Drake said he could not conclusively prove that the projectile that caused Harmon’s death was fired from the Hi Point pistol in evidence, as he did not appear to have a consistent pattern in tests, but he could say he had been shot from a Hi Point. He testified that the projectile had marks consistent with scoring with three grooves moving to the left, a feature only seen in Hi Point pistols.
The defense made their brief opening statement on Friday, having initially postponed it until later on Tuesday. Bently simply said he felt the defense case would present an alternative to the prosecution narrative and a different way of shooting Harmon.
Manning was the first defense witness. She said Iervolino was also charged with breaking and entering a vehicle and theft of property in connection with the theft of the work truck on November 5, 2019. She said Iervolino pleaded guilty to those charges on Monday. .
The only other defense witness was Doug Sharp who said he was a defense investigator who reviewed the evidence in the case. He said he also carried out tests to determine whether a gunshot from the truck Iervolino was driving could have hit Harmon.
Talladega County Attorney Steve Giddens, who is pursuing the case after District Attorney Harmon recused himself, was quick to object to Sharp’s credentials, asking if he was certified to perform such tests.
Sharp said he was not a certified police officer and did not consider himself an expert, but felt qualified to give an opinion.
Ultimately, after a discussion with Bently and Giddens, Judge Chad Woodruff reminded the jury that Sharp was not an expert but simply a person giving lay opinion. Sharp said he believed any shot from the truck to the car should have been at an angle.
Also during Sharp’s testimony, the defense showed a video of the Sunoco on Park Avenue in Moody that had previously been shown in court. The video shows the Chevrolet work truck driving past Harmon’s Mazda as it heads down Kelly Creek Road.
Sharp noted lightning in the video away from vehicles and that the car’s brake lights were obscured by something behind it before coming to a stop at the Valero, which is also visible in the video. He said in his opinion that the flash could have been a mouth flash.
In cross-examination, Sharp said he was only giving his opinion in his testimony and said he believed Harmon was shot while driving his car. He also admitted to Giddens that fire from the work truck was possible and that trees along Kelly Creek Road could have blocked the brake lights.
Giddens then replayed the video, frame by frame. In it, a small but noticeable light can be seen inside the work truck as Harmon is turning. Sharp said he had never seen this light before and had no explanation for it.
The case will continue on Monday morning with oral argument from both sides.
Taylor Mitchell is a Daily Home reporter who covers Pell City.